Tips on how to get the most out of a SaaS free trial

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To generate interest, SaaS providers love giving away freebies. Free demos! Free stickers! And of course, free trials. Who doesn't love a SaaS free trial, right?

Well, if you’re a savvy software shopper, then a freebie represents a real business opportunity. It’s like getting tons of free service or advice.

How’s that, you ask?

I compare it to test driving a car. So buckle up...things might get bumpy.

A bit of pre-freebie homework

Now before you jump into any free trial, you want to make sure it won't be a waste of time.

So once you know for certain that's it's SaaS you need (such as software in the form of a visitor management system) then you’ve got to narrow down the playing field. This means getting the low-down from all your trusted sources:

  • people in your immediate network,
  • industry contacts or consultants,
  • research papers, and
  • review sites

When you need a new vehicle, you'd do the same, right? You'd probably check out ConsumerReports or watch a bunch of YouTube reviews first. A thorough Google search would ensue.

Only then would you go to the dealer...

Review of review sites

In the case that you can’t find a guru or research paper about the particular software category you’re interested in, what can you do? How about a software review site?

When we looked to Quora for a review of review sites, G2 and Capterra seemed to get the best, um, reviews.

Proxyclick-reviews-G2-Capterra-SaaS-free-trial

Now, can these review sites be "gamed?"

Of course. But the best way to use review sites is to read the actual reviews—don’t just look at the number of stars.

Tip: If all the reviews sound the same, with gushing praise, then they're most likely fake. But if it sounds like someone put real thought into the pros and cons of a product, then for you it’s value.

There’s actually an entire strategy to picking best-in-breed solutions. We'll be publishing something on just that in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Let’s cut to the chase and get to the test drive

For argument's sake, we'll say you did your homework. You picked a favorite "pony."

Maybe there’s a good chance you’ll subscribe to the SaaS, but you want to be sure. Now here’s where a mindset change makes a big difference. Time to test drive that thing like you own it.

You see, like a car dealer, the SaaS wants to close a deal. This is nothing to be ashamed of. This means they are going to give you the best test possible.

In fact, the software provider would be thrilled for the test to segue into a subscription. So when you get behind the software wheel, let it rip! Test and probe every feature as deeply as you can, because if you actually end up owning it, then you’ll be ahead of the game.

So corner hard, run it over your roughest terrain, and give it full throttle.

Be coy, it’s okay, really

Now you might be kind of embarrassed about it, but also consider asking for a free trial extension.

Tip: You can say something like, “I’m very impressed, but my team wants to make absolutely sure it’s the right fit for us.”

Then keep getting comfortable with the software.

Get the most out of the SaaS free trial

Here’s a list of how to get the most juice for the squeeze when test-driving SaaS:

  1. Homework: Yes, there’s more. Brush up as much as you can about the software before your trial begins. Watch demos or tutorials. Nag them to teach you about their product. 
  2. Make time: Clear some of your calendar for the experience. A superficial ride won’t cut it.
  3. Make it a party: Get others on board, whether or not they're primary stakeholders. You can even hand out homework for them to do first and clear their calendars too (see the homework-free option later).
  4. Throw in real world scenarios: Try to find real business cases where the software will help. Put it to a real test.
  5. Take notes and ask lots of questions along the way, and afterwards.

SaaS-free-trial-tipDownload the rest of our tips

 

All that for one free month?

That might all sound like a lot of work for a one-month free trial. In fact, our free trial at Proxyclick is only 15 days long because of the ease of use and buy-in from everyone involved.

But guess what? You can actually buy extra time with most SaaS products. 

Think about it. You get a free trial aka "month one," plus an extension that's usually really easy to get.

Then, all the learning and onboarding you did during the free trial has advanced the deployment process. This means, when the free trial is over, things are already up and running. 

If you didn’t get the freebie, or if you squandered it, then you'll lose out on precious time to get everything up and operational. So you really have to make every day count in the free trial, because the clock ticks against you. 

Works great for visitor management software

If you’re considering a visitor management solutions, then this freebie squeeze can also work.

Cloud based offerings work especially well in this regard. Why? Because they deploy smoothly and rapidly. Plus, cloud solutions give you a very real, hand- on experience during the trial.

Take it from our team. We were pretty thorough ourselves when it came down to starting our E-bike free trial:

 

 

Not everyone will be so cheery… at first

Now, when it comes to putting the free trial to use at your organization, others might not be as enthusiastic as you are. That’s when choosing the most seamless and frictionless solutions will win you bonus points.

For instance, for VMS, an iPad app check-in system is super easy to implement and just as easy to use. 

From there, you simply ask reception staff to try out the iPad-based visitor check-ins. Get co-workers on board by telling them you are testing a cool self-check-in app that will make their jobs much easier—and you won’t be lying.

Tip: Maybe show them how to do it once or twice with a real guest.

Meanwhile, at the back office, your Dashboard gives you all the data about your guests visits that you can share later. As the trial finalizes, you can collect data about your co-workers experiences during the test trial.    

More juice please

If you want to dive even deeper into the new world of paperless reception and how to transform visitor management from a process to a journey, then start your very own free trial with us today.


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